I don’t want to make it sound like life happens just to teach ME lessons. Life happens, in fact, in ways that serve us all. The recent massacre in Las Vegas, the hurricanes that have ravaged the southern U.S. and Puerto Rico, and on the opposite end of the spectrum the many small moments in my life, including my recent interest in Microsoft CEO Satya Natella’s book “Hit Refresh”, have served to remind me of a few key things. The most important of which is that living is not a permanent state of being. It is precious, sacred, and unpredictable. But what does that REALLY teach us about how, then, to actually LIVE while we have the gift of life?
In “Hit Refresh” (which I’m listening to on Audible), Nadella says this:
“If you could understand impermanence deeply, you would develop more equanimity. You would not get too excited about either the ups or downs of life. And only then would you be ready to develop that deeper sense of empathy and compassion for everything around you.”
I would take that just a small step further and say, we must each understand our impermanence in a deep way in order to develop a sense of empathy and compassion FOR OURSELVES.
It seems silly to talk about weight loss when the world is suffering such terrible loss of life and of hope. But I feel like I see life and hope whenever I see people working on themselves in this way so I’m going to share this story because the big changes that need to happen in our communities start with individuals making changes in themselves.
After I lost about 20 pounds in 2013 and got into the best shape of my life so far I felt unstoppable. I just knew I’d never struggle with my weight again. 4 years later, however, here I am, heavier than I was before I started, upset at myself for it, and trying to figure out WHY (not how) I got here. It’s not because I stopped caring for myself or others – in fact I’ve been caring for myself in other ways. But truthfully, I just stopped making working out my priority. There were other more important things I felt needed tending and I chose those over tending to my body in the way I did before. It wasn’t laziness that got the best of me, it was impermanence.
Our life was so uncertain for much of last year. The stress of grad school, moving, 3 kids, and no husband at home – these were all temporary states that ultimately affected how I managed myself and my time. Following Nadella’s advice, however, this understanding of impermanence requires me not to be excited or worried by this “down” but instead show myself compassion and empathy and simply try again when I am ready.
In other words, to all the people I know reading this who have lost and gained weight a million times – don’t hate yourselves. Don’t do it! Instead, be kind to yourself, think about where you do want to be, and take compassionate action. For me that action is finding something that helps me get back into caring for my physical self because my emotional self needs and deserves that.
Who knew that I’d learn so much about how handle disappointment, frustration and anxiety compassionately by listening to a guy from Microsoft, but I have. It’s time to #hitrefresh and I cannot wait to share this next part of my journey with you.